NEW YORK --Shohei Ohtani, Cody Bellinger, Jordan Montgomery, Blake Snell and Aaron Nola were among the 130 players who became free agents Thursday as baseball's business season began the day following the Texas Rangers' first World Series title.
Minnesotaprevented outfielder Max Kepler and infielder Jorge Polanco from leaving, exercising a $10 million option on Kepler and $10.5 million option on Polanco. Each would have been owed a $1 million buyout had the option been declined.
At the start of the day, 61 additional players had the potential to become free agents by Monday, depending on decisions on options and opt outs.
Players may start negotiating with any team at 5 p.m. EST Monday, also the deadline for teams to make qualifying offers. Players may receive a qualifying offer if they spent the entire season with the team and have not previously received a qualifying offer. The amount is the average of the top 125 contracts by average annual value.
This year's offer price is $20,625,000, up from $19.65 million last year.
Qualifying offers began after the 2012 season, and 10 of 124 offers have been accepted. Among the 14 players given offers last year, the only players to accept were outfielder Joc Pederson with San Francisco and left-hander Martín Pérez with Texas.